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Thursday, October 16, 2003
Updated: October 20, 2:49 PM ET
Out of the Box: FHL and FBA


By Graham Hays
ESPN Fantasy Games

Out of the Box will appear each morning, Monday-Friday, throughout the NBA and NHL seasons. The goal? To give you the inside dirt on yesterday's box scores.

Note: Out of the Box will not run on Friday, Oct. 17

WEDNESDAY'S NEWSMAKER

Chauncey Billups
PG

Profile
Pistons Clubhouse

Wednesday's Line
PTS
REB
AST
STL
3PT
23
9
6
1
4
Is Chauncey Billups ready for a leading role, or are we in for the basketball version of The Michael Richards Show? Detroit still has Ben Wallace rebounding, Richard Hamilton shooting, Larry Brown coaching and Darko Milicic ... sitting on the bench, but Billups is the man who makes the team go. Or in the case of the Eastern Conference Finals, the man who makes them stop. Billups totaled 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four 3-pointers in Wednesday's win against Boston. It's just one preseason line, but it's an indication that last year's second half averages -- 19.5 ppg, 4.4 apg, 4.0 rpg -- were just the beginning.

SURFIN' THE SCOREBOARD
Cat Burglar: The Bruins acquired Felix Potvin and found their goalie. Turns out the two events weren't entirely related, but hey, why quibble over details. Potvin will eventually rebound from a slow start -- seven goals allowed on the first 55 shots he faced -- but Andrew Raycroft is the netminder of the hour after blanking Dallas in Wednesday's win. In seven periods and an overtime, Raycroft has stopped 65-of-67 shots to earn a win and a tie. Considering he posted a 2.40 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in five appearances last season, it's not all that difficult to believe the 23-year-old goalie is more rising star than shooting star. He won't get 50 starts, but that doesn't mean he won't help fantasy teams.

More Numbers

  • NHL Scoreboard:
    All the box scores

  • NBA Scoreboard:
    All the box scores
  • Helping Hands: Looking for assists? So are the Sonics, who notched just 12 dimes while scoring 71 points in Wednesday's preseason tilt against Golden State. Antonio Daniels started next to Brent Barry -- Ray Allen sat out -- but the regular season will likely open with a backcourt of Allen and Barry. That's good news for fantasy owners, who stand to get bonus assists out of the shooting guard slot on fantasy rosters. Barry recorded just one assist against the Warriors, but his average climbed from 4.5 apg in the first half of last season to 5.9 apg in the second half, i.e. after G.P.

    Doan Deal: Pittsburgh isn't the only team whose owner can skate circles around most of the players, but Shane Doan and the Phoenix Coyotes don't look like a bargain-basement collection after three games. Give the underrated Sean Burke credit for much of that, but don't overlook Shane Doan. Always reliable -- he's totaled between 50 and 63 points in each of the last four seasons -- Doan is off to a quick start with three points in three games after scoring a goal on eight shots against Florida. Even if he doesn't reach 70-plus points for the first time, Doan's mix of 200-plus shots and 70-plus penalty minutes make him a terrific fantasy pick.

    WEDNESDAY'S BEST LINES

    Alfredsson
    G
    A
    +/-
    SOG
    PIM
    2
    0
    0
    3
    0
    Lenard
    Pts
    Reb
    Ast
    Stl
    3PT
    20
    3
    1
    0
    2
    Artest
    Pts
    Reb
    Ast
    Stl
    Blk
    28
    2
    2
    1
    1

    Daniel Alfredsson: The best Swede this side of Forsberg.

    Voshon Lenard: Getting old enough to be the next Dell Curry.

    Ron Artest: Also had 0 technicals and 0 flagrant fouls.

    BETWEEN THE LINES
  • Mike Van Ryn and Jay Bouwmeester each logged more than 25 minutes -- including five-plus minutes on the power play -- in Wednesday's loss, leading to a goal from Van Ryn and an assist from Bouwmeester. Talent is one thing, but every prospect needs the minutes to turn potential into results if they're going to have any fantasy value.

  • Carmelo Anthony could easily lead rookies in scoring this season, but is he anything more than the next Richard Hamilton to fantasy owners? Anthony scored 16 points in 25 minutes Wednesday, but he chipped in just two rebounds, one steal and no assists. For all his talent, it's not clear what categories he'll be able to help in, other than points.

  • In contrast to Anthony, Toronto's Chris Bosh continues to look like a legit fantasy sleeper. Bosh totaled 16 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes against Minnesota and could be in line for major minutes this season.

    WEDNESDAY'S BOTTOM LINE

    Antoine Walker
    SF

    Profile
    Celtics Clubhouse

    Wednesday's Line
    PTS
    REB
    AST
    STL
    3PT
    16
    4
    3
    1
    2
    Same old Antoine. For all the talk of revitalization and rebirth around the Celtics, you get the feeling changes to Antoine Walker's game happen at about the same speed David Ortiz goes from first to third at Fenway. Walker went 6-of-16 from the floor against Detroit, finding the time in 29 minutes to launch five 3-pointers. Shockingly, all that time behind the arc led to just two free throws and four rebounds. Walker is talented enough to make a fantasy impact playing lousy basketball, but he could be so much more with a little more discipline to his game.